I recently did something I haven’t done in a long time—bowl. Over the holiday break, my family and I spent an afternoon at an all-in-one family fun center where we sang karaoke, played ping-pong, and bowled, all under one roof.
After lacing up our rental shoes (which are just as stylish as I remember!), we entered our names on the board and chose our bowling balls. I started out shaky, but I’m proud to say my game steadily improved over 10 frames.
None of us broke 150, and our outing—including shoes and snacks—wasn’t cheap. But we had fun, and it was worth every penny. In fact, afternoons like that are why I invest.
Although I’ve built a solid career out of my interest in finance and investing, interest alone isn’t enough to inspire me as an investor. I don’t invest only for returns. I invest so I have the time and resources to pursue my interests and hobbies. I invest to support my family today and in the future. And I invest so we can live life. Depending on the day, that could mean anything from going bowling or taking a cooking class to studying abroad.
3 tips to help you “have it all”
The investors I work with are successful because they create goals, maintain balanced portfolios, minimize costs, and stay disciplined. But there’s more to their success.
They laugh, make time for date nights with their partners, and spend time with their kids. And they believe they can achieve whatever they set their minds to.* Day after day, in bull and bear markets alike, they strike the right balance between enjoying the moment and preparing for the future.
Here are some tips to help you do the same.
1. Prioritize the present.
Designate a specific percentage of your income (annually, monthly, weekly, or even daily) for nonessentials—aka fun—to help rein in overzealous spending.
Budgeting for fun can also help you understand that living life in the moment is a priority too, giving you the freedom to enjoy the present without jeopardizing the future.
2. Avoid an all-or-nothing attitude.
Few things in life are black or white. There’s usually a gray area, and in my experience, it’s a good place to be.
For example, don’t go on vacation with an unlimited souvenir budget … but don’t set a budget of zero dollars either. Do set a reasonable limit on how much you’ll spend in advance.
Minding the middle ground between “all” and “nothing” prevents you from thinking in extremes, which can be limiting. Living life to the fullest means something different to each of us. But chances are, you don’t need to spend extravagantly to feel fulfilled—and you don’t need to sacrifice so much that you feel like you’re missing out.
3. Make it about memories.
Think back to one of your favorite memories. You may remember some details about where you were, what you were doing, or whom you were with. But I bet you remember exactly how you felt.
The most expensive experiences aren’t necessarily the most memorable. You don’t need to take your kids on a 5-star vacation or a luxury cruise to make them feel loved, special, and happy. A less expensive vacation (or simply devoting a chunk of time to spend with your kids doing something they enjoy) can make them feel like they’re your top priority—and that’s a feeling they’ll remember.
Why do others invest?
How do other investors live for today while saving for the future?
In 2017, we partnered with external bloggers to explore how Vanguard’s investing philosophy fits into people’s real lives. The common thread: Most people don’t invest for “money,” per se. They invest to have choices today and stability tomorrow.
Here’s what some bloggers had to say.
Anna M. Cohen
There really is nothing like feeling secure about your future to help you be able to relax and truly enjoy the present! Being in the moment and cherishing special experiences with my son and husband (and dog!) are what life is all about.
It Starts with Coffee
Enjoying a date night shouldn’t feel like you are sacrificing financial security. It shouldn’t strain you. So investing helps curb that stress. You know your future is in good hands so you can enjoy the present.
Pink on the Cheek
No one ever said that you can’t have a little fun while still saving money! My personal belief is that we never know what tomorrow will bring. … While I am setting up for my future, I still want to be able to say “YES” to so many activities and adventures.
In the Know Mom
No matter which way you slice it, money is a big part of life. It matters where you invest it and investing it now can give you the peace of mind needed to enjoy your family now.
Mom Saves Money
We realized we didn’t have to give up our moments today for financial security tomorrow. We could do both, because present and future are both important. We want to live well tomorrow, but don’t want to forget about the importance of today.
After over a decade of marriage I’ve learned it doesn’t really matter what we do as long as we take regular dates together to reconnect. We invest in our relationship with each other today and invest financially to plan for more good times in our future.
Bottom line with investing is that you feel fulfilled.
Why do you invest?
As an investor myself, I know that having a long-term mindset doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the present.
Healthy saving habits prepare you for the future and give you confidence in your ability to make responsible financial decisions right now. Although the principles for investment success are universal, no two investors are the same.
So … why do you invest?
*The Where Investors Belong survey was conducted by market research firm Kelton Global in 2016. It polled 1,000 Vanguard clients and compared them with 1,000 clients of other investment firms. All differences between Vanguard clients and clients of other investment firms are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level. The experiences of these Vanguard clients may not be representative of the experience of other Vanguard clients and aren’t a guarantee of future investment performance or success.
- All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest.
- Opinions expressed by the external bloggers are not necessarily those of Vanguard.